Family History Friday: Irish Ancestors

Last month we looked at sites that could help you with your Welsh ancestors. This month we thought we’d concentrate on Irish ancestors.

You don’t need to have been delving for long into your Irish ancestry before you realise what an impact a fire in 1922 will have in your research. Two days into the Civil War, a massive explosion destroyed the Public Records Office attached to Dublin’s Four Courts and with it hundreds of years of documented history.

The census records for the whole of the 19th century going back to the first in 1821 were incinerated. Chancery records, detailing British rule in Ireland going back to the 14th century and grants of land by the crown, were also destroyed along with thousands of wills and title deeds.

So what resources are left for family historians to use? Before you despair, take comfort in the fact that a lot of other useful sources have been indexed, transcribed and digitised.

National Archives of Ireland
The National Archives of Ireland
This has to be the first place to start on your search. Among the many records are:
Tithe Applotment records for a person living in the 1820’s or 1830’s.
Primary valuation and valuation records for a person living in the 1840’s, 1850’s or 1860’s
1901 and 1911 census returns for a person living in the early 20th century.
Some of these collections have been digitised and are available online on  Genealogy ( These include:
Prerogative and diocesan copies of some wills and indexes to others, 1596 – 1858
Diocesan and Prerogative Marriage Licence Bonds Indexes, 1623 – 1866
Catholic qualification & convert rolls, 1700 – 1845
Valuation Office house, field, tenure and quarto books 1824 – 1856
Shipping agreements and crew lists, 1863 – 1921
Will Registers 1858 – 1900

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) | nidirect
Included in this archive are valuation records from 1828 onwards, estate records, maps, school records and records for 28 Poor Law Unions. Of particular note is the Ulster Covenant, which contains the signatures of over ½ million people, taken in 1912 and this can easily be searched.

National Museums Northern Ireland
National Museums NI : Explore, engage and enjoy (
Four national museums are represented here. Included in the collections are photographs, maps and documents.

Family Search
Ireland Civil Registration Indexes, 1845-1958 —

An index of Ireland civil registration including 1864-1958 births, 1845-1958 marriages and 1864-1958 deaths, but excluding index records for Northern Ireland after its creation in 1922.
The Wiki page Ireland Genealogy • FamilySearch takes you to further collections and research guides.

National Library of Ireland
National Library of Ireland – Homepage (
As you would expect there are a lot of records that you can explore through the online catalogue, including newspapers, photographs and manuscripts.

Griffith’s Valuation
Griffith’s Valuation (
The Primary Valuation was the first full scale valuation of property in Ireland. It was overseen by Richard Griffith and published between 1847 and 1864. It is one of the most important surviving 19th century genealogical sources and can be searched here.

Documenting Ireland
| European History Primary Sources (
DIPPAM (Documenting Ireland: Parliament, People and Migration) is an online virtual archive of documents and sources relating to the history of Ireland and its migration experience from the 18th to late 20th centuries. Included is a large database of 15.000 official publications relating to all aspects of Irish affairs during the period of the Union, including bills, reports, commissions of inquiry and the published census reports. It is a rich source for the social history of Ireland as well as for statistics relating to population, emigration and other subjects.

Mellon Centre for Migration Studies
Irish Emigration Database (IED) – Mellon Centre for Migration Studies (
The Irish Emigration Database (IED) is a virtual archive of original primary material which has been transcribed, digitised and is key-word searchable.  The documents within IED are related to historic Irish migration to North America from 1700-1950.  The collection policy has always been wide-ranging with 17 different categories of documents including emigrant letters, newspaper articles, shipping advertisements and passenger lists.  The project represents an important research resource for historians, teachers, students and genealogists with interests relating to historic Irish migration to both the United States and Canada.
The IED is also available online at DIPPAM.

Roots Ireland
Find your Irish Ancestors today – Irish Family History Online Records Search Facility – Find your Irish Ancestors today with the Irish Family History Foundation online research service (
There is a database of more than 22 million Irish records from 34 county genealogy centres. The main sources on the site are Irish catholic and other church records of baptisms, marriages and deaths, which are the most important source for tracing Irish ancestry.

Irish Genealogical Research Society
Irish Genealogical Research Society – Discover your Irish roots (
Since it was founded in 1936 the library and archive held by the society is seen as an important collection of material on Irish genealogy. Its primary concern initially was to gather together copies of materials compiled before the 1922 fire at the Public Records Office in Dublin.

Irish Genealogy
Welcome to Irish Genealogy – Irish Genealogy
This is another site that is well worth exploring further.

Military Archives
Home | Military Archives
Military records can be a rich source of information for genealogical research. If your ancestor served in the Defence Forces in Ireland from 1922 onwards, or received a medal or pension for service during the Easter Rising or war of Independence, there may be reference to them within the collections.
Please note Military Archives does not hold records relating to military service prior to 1922. If your relative served during World War 1, or at any point up to 1922, it is likely their service was with some of the Irish Regiments of the British Army.
Included in the collections are the Irish Army Census 1922, the Military Service Pensions 1923 – 1988 and the Civil War Internment records.

Family History Friday: Welsh ancestors

You’ll quickly find, if you have Welsh ancestors, that there are a number of fairly unique problems that you will have to cope with, one of them being the patronymic naming system (see this page for further information Expo Syllabus Template ( ). But there are a number of websites that can help you and we’ve named some of them below.

The National Library of Wales
Library Resources | The National Library of Wales
There’s no better place than to start here with over 950,000 photographs, over a million maps including over one thousand tithe maps covering more than 95% of Wales, marriage bonds and wills. There are newspapers, videos, you can even hear the first sound recording of the Welsh national anthem. The link, where you can search over 15 million Welsh newspaper articles, is here – Welsh Newspapers Online – Home (

GENUKI: Wales, .All of Wales
Provides a lot of links, well worth exploring.

Find My Past
Trace your Family Tree Online | Genealogy & Ancestry from Findmypast |
As you would expect there are a wealth of resources for you to choose from including Welsh Probate Records (1544 – 1858), Wales Births and Baptisms (1541 – 1907) and the Monmouthshire Workhouse Registers of 1843 – 1929.

People’s Collection Wales
A People’s Story of Wales (
People’s Collection Wales is a free website dedicated to bringing together Wales’s heritage. The Collection is full of fascinating photographs, documents, audio and video recordings and stories that link to the history, culture and people of Wales. These items have been contributed to the website not only by national institutions but also individuals, local community groups and small museums, archives and libraries across Wales.

North Wales BMD
North Wales Births Marriages & Deaths Indexes (
The Register Offices in the county of North Wales hold the original records of births, marriages and deaths dating back to 1837. The county’s family history societies are collaborating with them to make indexes of these records freely available. Although these indexes are not yet complete it is hoped that the database will cover all North Wales births, marriages and deaths from 1837. Please note however that the site was last updated in March 2017.

Welsh Family History Archive
Welsh Family History Archive (
Included on this website is a useful page giving the meanings of the most common Welsh language words and phrases found on gravestones in Wales (Welsh Family History Archive (

Welsh Coal Mines
Coal Mines, collieries, drifts, welsh mining disasters (
Gives a list of coal mines, with their history and some with photographs. There is also a list of mining accidents, where there were five or more fatalities.

Digging Up the Past
Home | Digging up the Past
A collection of photographs of the history of coal mining in South Wales.

Welsh Mariners
Morwyr Cymru – Welsh Mariners
An online index of 23,758 Welsh merchant masters, mates and engineers active from 1800 to 1945. Please note that this site has not been updated since May 2018.

Association of Family History Societies of Wales
Association of Family History Societies of Wales (
Included on this site is a page which gives you a list of parishes by County and Society, showing where each parish was located pre 1974 County and post 1974 County, as well as giving you the family history society that covers that parish.

And don’t forget the various Archives Services in Wales:

Anglesey Archive ServiceCatalogues, guides and indexes (

Ceredigion ArchivesCeredigion Archives – Archifdy Ceredigion – Ceredigion Archives (

Glamorgan ArchivesHome – Glamorgan Archives (

North East Wales ArchivesHome | North East Wales Archives ( formed in April 2020 when Denbighshire Archives (Ruthin) and Flintshire Record Office (Hawarden) came together to offer a joint service. 

Powys County ArchivesArchives and Family History – Powys County Council

West Glamorgan ArchivesSwansea – West Glamorgan Archive Service

Summer Reading Challenge 2021: Wild World Heroes

It’s going to be wild in our libraries this summer! Download the Summer Reading Challenge 2021 events brochures and book your places today!

This summer, Wakefield Council Libraries and The Reading Agency have teamed up with WWF for a very special nature-themed Challenge that will inspire you to stand up for the planet!

This year’s Summer Reading Challenge is part of Festival of the Earth; an exciting collection of events, activities, workshops and more taking place from July to October 2021 across the Wakefield district.
Find out more:

It’s free, family friendly and in your local library from Saturday 3 July 2021

Visit your local Wakefield Council library to join. Choose any six books to read over the summer and
win rewards, a certificate and a medal. Finish the Challenge and you could help your school to win a prize too.

There is also a special Mini Challenge for children under 4.

You can also join in online at

Enjoy family fun exploring libraries and sharing books together as you become #WildWorldHeroes

Family History Friday: The 1921 Census

Stanley Subscription Prize Band, 1921

As family historians we’re probably all aware of the value of the census, done every 10 years, which shows us where our ancestors were on the night that the census was taken. Due to data protection laws the information in a census can only be seen after one hundred years. This means that the earliest census that we can currently view is that of 1911. However many of us are waiting, with eager anticipation, for the release of the 1921 census which will happen at some point in 2022. So today we thought we’d look at the background to the 1921 census and what we can expect to see in it.

As the census has progressed over the years, the data within it has also grown, from firstly giving basic information about a person (their name, address and age), to later on showing how each member of a household was related to one another and their date of birth. The 1921 census gives yet further information never previously been given on a census including:
Place of employment
Industry in which employed
Materials worked with
Name of employer
Marital status for those aged 15 or over (“divorce” as a status is included for the first time)
Details of whether or not parents were still alive for those under 15
If a person spoke an additional language (this was applicable for census returns in Wales and the Isle of Man)

In other words, this census will provide far more information than previous censuses. From it, we should be able to glean a better insight into our ancestors’ daily lives, particularly in terms of their employment. The 1921 census also allowed, for the first time, people to submit confidential returns. This suggests that people may have been far more willing to reveal personal information, such as divorces and relationships between members of the family.

So when might we be able to access the 1921 census? As you can imagine there’s a lot of work going on in the background in order to make this possible. To give you an idea of the size of the task, the 1921 census takes up 1.6 kilometres of shelving, comprising roughly 8.5 million householder questionnaires (or schedules) held in 28,152 volumes. Each schedule was completed by the householder and is in their handwriting. There are also 1,992 volumes of Plans of Division, a standard 32 page booklet in which local registrars recorded how their registration subdistrict would be broken up into enumeration districts for the census. Enumeration districts were designed so that a single enumerator would be able to visit all the properties in that district on census day in order to collect the schedules after they had been completed.

Just under 38 million people were living in England and Wales in June 1921, when the census was taken. The increase in population since 1911 was about 1.8 million, approximately half the increase from 1901 to 1911 and proportionally the lowest increase since the census first began in 1801. This really shows the impact that the First World War had on the population.

Find My Past has been chosen as the commercial partner for The National Archives in order to make the 1921 census available online. Each page has to be firstly examined, cleaned and repaired before it is passed to the scanning team. This work has been affected by the restrictions placed upon the teams due to Covid but it is progressing well and the project is still on track for a full online release in early 2022. An exact launch date has not yet been announced.

Of course, being a member of Wakefield Libraries will allow you free access to these records when they do become available.

This is our 47th and final weekly Family History Friday. We will now move to a monthly schedule. Thanks to everyone for reading!

Family History Friday: Overseas Research

There’s a fair chance that sooner or later you’ll find that you have ancestors who either moved abroad permanently or spent some time living and working overseas. This week we thought we’d suggest a few useful sites of a general nature that could help to get you started. Some of these we have previously mentioned but they’re well worth referring to again.

Cyndi’s List
Welcome to Cyndi’s List (
Quite simply this is probably the best place to start as it gives you links to all sorts of different websites that will help. Click on Categories and this will take you to a list which includes different countries for example Africa (90 sites listed), New Zealand (425) and Norway (320).

The National Archives
Find an archive | The National Archives
Here you’ll find a list of overseas repositories. And of course, don’t forget to have a look at their helpful research guides.

Convict Records of Australia
Convict Records of Australia
This website allows you to search the British Convict transportation register for convicts transported to Australia between 1787-1867.
Information available includes name of convict, known aliases, place convicted, port of departure, date of departure, port of arrival, and the source of the data.

National Archives, Australia
Getting started with your research |
A useful page which tells you what records they hold and how you can search the collection.

Families in British India Society
Welcome to the world of British India family history – Families in British India Society (
The Fibiwiki, which you’ll find a link to on this page, provides a wealth of material about the lives your ancestors lived with guides, lists sources and general background information about the culture, society and history of India during the period from 1600 to 1947.

Find My Past
British in India |
Explore names of British people who either lived, worked or travelled in India from as early as 1664 up to 1961. This collection includes carefully indexed records of births, marriages, divorces and deaths. 

Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain
If you have Jewish ancestors then it may well be worth your while joining this subscription only site. We believe there to be an immigration and emigration section within it.

Huguenot Society
Huguenot Society :: Family History
The Huguenot Society provides a variety of resources that can help those searching for their ancestors: its own publications, substantial collections of family history material in the Huguenot Library and leaflets providing guidance. The downloadable leaflets are on the page we have given you.

Anglo German Family History Society
Home (
The Anglo-German Family History Society welcomes all those who are interested in researching the genealogy or family history of people from the German-speaking parts of Europe who have emigrated over the centuries and settled in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (North and South), and the neighbouring islands.

Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild
Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild
We’ve mentioned this site in the past which provides transcribed passenger lists that can be searched by port of arrival or departure.

The Ships List
TheShipsList: Passengers, Ships, Shipwrecks
Again, this is a website that we’ve mentioned before. It will help you find your ancestors on ships’ passenger lists. There are also have immigration reports, newspaper records, shipwreck information, ship pictures, ship descriptions, shipping-line fleet lists and more; as well as hundreds of passenger lists to Canada, USA, Australia and even some for South Africa.

US Immigrants
Immigrant Ancestors Project (
The Immigrant Ancestors Project, sponsored by the Centre for Family History and Genealogy at Brigham Young University, uses emigration registers to locate information about the birthplaces of immigrants in their native countries, which is not found in the port registers and naturalisation documents in the destination countries. Volunteers at the university are creating a database of millions of immigrants based on these emigration registers.

Ellis Island
Passenger + Ship Search | Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
During the largest human migration in modern history, Ellis Island  processed more immigrants than all the other North American ports combined. Today tens of millions of Americans can trace at least one ancestor to Ellis.

National Archives America
Resources for Genealogists and Family Historians | National Archives
This page provides a useful starting point for learning more about what records can accessed.

Library and Archives Canada
Library and Archives Canada (LAC) – Library and Archives Canada (
Not only will you find censuses here from 1640 to 1926 but you’ll also find passenger and border entry lists from 1865 to 1935.

Archives New Zealand
Archives New Zealand || Searching passenger lists
This page shows the passenger lists available in their archives.

Family History Friday: Wills

This week we thought we’d look at wills in a little more detail. We tend to assume that only the more wealthy people left a will but that’s not always the case. If a will does exist for one of your ancestors it can often include information not found elsewhere, such as their wealth, a detailed description of their possessions and relationships. However wills can also be confusing, hard to find and hard to understand, particularly if they are written in Latin. You may also find references to your ancestor in other people’s wills.

Until January 1858 most wills had to be proved in an ecclesiastical court. The Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) handled those in the south of England and Wales, whilst the Prerogative Court of York (PCY) covered the north of England. These were then further divided into dioceses and each diocese further divided into archdeaconries. Generally a poor person’s will was likely to have been dealt with by an archdeacon’s court, a wealthier person who had possessions in more than one archdeaconry was dealt with by a diocesan court. The prerogative courts usually dealt with the upper classes and the wealthier middle classes. Most diocesan and archdeaconry wills will be found in local archives.

Note that the date a will was proved is not the same as the date of death. It sometimes took years to complete the process of proving a will and wills are indexed by the date that probate was granted. Disputed wills could have been considered newsworthy so it might be a good idea to check local or national newspapers to see if they were reported.

Probate Search
Find a will | GOV.UK (
This is the official government database where you can search 41 million wills dating back to 1858. You’ll need the name and date of death in order to find the will. There is a cost if you wish to see a downloaded will (currently £1.50 per will). The help page gives useful further information about how to do this.

The National Archives
Research guides keywords – The National Archives
As you’d expect there are several research guides which are a great help.

Find My Past
Historical Records – Search all Record Sets |
This is probably the largest resource for pre 1858 wills and of course it’s free to visit and use if you’re a member of Wakefield Libraries.

AncestryLibrary™ (
To search for wills click on the Search button and choose Wills and Probate from the drop down menu. As with Find My Past it’s free to visit and use if you’re a member of Wakefield Libraries.

National Library of Wales
wills – National Library of Wales Catalogue (
For wills proved in the Welsh ecclesiastical courts prior to 1858.

Scotland’s People
Guides | ScotlandsPeople
This links to a helpful research guide. The wills and testaments index contains over 611,000 index entries to Scottish wills and testaments dating from 1513 to 1925.

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
Search will calendars | nidirect
Search the index to will calendar entries for the District Probate Registries of Armagh, Belfast and Londonderry covering the period 1858 to 1965. View digital images of copy wills for Armagh, (1858 to 1918), Belfast (1858 to 1909) and Londonderry (1858 to 1899).

Pre 1858 Durham Probate Records
North East Inheritance database (
An online database of pre-1858 probate records (wills and related documents), from Northumberland and County Durham. The pre-1858 Durham Probate Records include wills and related documents from the areas under the probate jurisdiction of the Diocese (and Cathedral) of Durham, which at that date consisted of the following areas:
Northumberland (excluding Hexham and Hexhamshire, and Thockrington)
Tyne and Wear
County Durham
Crayke (Yorkshire) and Alston (Cumberland)
Northallerton and some surrounding townships in Yorkshire

Family History Friday: Research Guides created by The National Archives

We often refer to these guides as they’re such a useful starting point when looking at specific topics but today we thought we’d concentrate on how to search for them and what likely resources they’ll refer you on to. They will show you what records are available and where you might find them. Quite often their suggestions will include records that you hadn’t thought of or weren’t aware that they existed.

  1. Go to The National Archives
  2. Click on “Help with your research”.
  3. Then under “Find a research guide” either click on “Use our A – Z index” or select from one of the popular topics featured below on the page. In our example we want to find out more about air raids in Britain during the Second World War so we’ll use the “Use our A – Z index” and then select the letter “A”.
  4. In “Step 2 – select a keyword” we’ll select “air raids”.
  5. This takes us to “Bomb Census survey records 1940 – 1945”.
  6. When you click on this the research guide becomes available.
  7. As you’ll see the first item of information tells you how you can view the records covered in the guide – in this case you can’t view them online but you can order copies, visit The National Archives at Kew to view them or pay for research.
  8. Further information includes why these particular records were made and how they were collected.
  9. Details of the three most useful series of records that are kept at The National Archives are given and show what information is in them. Suggestions on how to search them and what keywords could be used are given.
  10. Further document references are given for example “Bomb Census maps arranged by the different types of bombs that were dropped” and “air raid damage file references by region”.
  11. The research guide also points you to records that may be held in other archives and online sources. Included in the Online Sources are Bath Blitz , North-East Diary 1939 – 1945 ( and the West End at War: history, photos, memories, and maps of London during the Second World War . Guidance on how to find records in other archives is given.
  12. And finally, though this isn’t always the case, a “Further reading” booklist is given. You’ll probably find that many of the titles suggested are available through Wakefield Libraries.

Family History Friday: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Sources

For those of you who have already researched your family history further back into the eighteenth century you’ll know how difficult it is to find records. And the further back you go, the harder it gets. You may also know that the richer your family were, the more likely you are to find records that refer to them. So before the days of civil registration and the census, the records you’re most likely to be using will be parish, electoral, court and tax records. As usual we’ve a few suggestions that may help you in your search.

Connected Histories
Connected Histories
A wealth of material can be found here, though some does require a subscription in order to view it. Among the records are London Lives 1690 – 1800 and British History Online.

Protestation Returns
Protestation Returns for Family History – Parliament Archives
Protestation Returns are the closest record we have to a census from 1642. By order of the House of Commons, all adult men were asked to swear an oath of allegiance to the Protestant religion in 1642. Their names were duly inscribed in a list in each parish, and the list sent back to Parliament. In a few areas such as Cornwall, people wrote their own names, and women were included. But usually a local official wrote out all the names. The Protestation Returns survive for about a third of English counties.

Family Search
Historical Record Collections —
This link takes you to a list of collections within Family Search which include Parish Registers, Bishop’s Transcripts, and Marriage Bonds. You can then use the filters to narrow down your search.

The Old Bailey
Old Bailey Online – The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913 – Central Criminal Court
We’ve mentioned this site before but it’s well worth exploring. It’s a fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London’s central criminal court.

The British Newspaper Archive
Home | Search the archive | British Newspaper Archive
You can refine your search to fifty year date ranges and browse newspaper titles from the 1700s onwards. Being a member of Wakefield Libraries means that you can access this website for free in one of our libraries.

The National Archives
The National Archives | E179 | Home page
Here you can search the class of records known as “King’s Remembrancer, particulars of account and other records relating to lay and clerical taxation”. These records relate to the taxation of the laity in England and Wales, as well as descriptions and discussions of every tax levied on both the laity and the clergy over the period covered by the documents.

Hearth Tax Digital
Hearth Tax Digital (
Following the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660, the hearth tax was levied in England and Wales from 1662 until 1689 (it continued to be collected in Ireland until the early nineteenth century). It was charged according to the number of fireplaces in dwellings, and it was collected twice each year at one shilling per hearth. It was also levied in Scotland in 1691 with collection lasting until 1695. The hearth tax provides a remarkably rich series of records on population, wealth distribution and poverty in a period of key political, social and economic change.

The Genealogist
The Genealogist: Search Census, Births, Marriages, Deaths, Parish Records, Non-Conformist Records, Directories, Military Records, Wills & more!
A subscription site but it does contain a lot of eighteenth century material including militia muster records dating from the 1780s.

BBC Family History
BBC – Family History – 17th and 18th Century Sources
An excellent guide written by well-known genealogist Else Churchill, the Genealogy Officer of the Society of Genealogist since 1998. 

Cyndi’s List
Cyndi’s List – United Kingdom & Ireland – U.K. Military – Historical Military Conflicts, Events or Wars – The English Civil War (
We don’t mention Cyndi’s List as often as perhaps we should as it’s definitely the “go to” site for a list of links that point you to genealogical research sites online. Here we’ve given you the link to sites for the English Civil War.

Family History Friday: Nonconformist records

Wesley Street Methodist Church, Ossett

Having recently looked at possible places to search for Catholic and Jewish records, we thought we’d turn our attention this week to Nonconformist records. Whilst Catholics and Jews are sometimes referred to as nonconformists, the term is usually used for the non-Anglican Protestant denominations for example Methodists, Baptists and Quakers.
Most post-1837 nonconformist registers are kept in local record offices. Some nonconformist chapels did have their own burial grounds and many nonconformist burial registers are still kept at the burial grounds themselves.

BMD Registers
Non Conformist BMD Register Search | BmdRegisters
Records of birth, baptisms, marriage, death and burial taken from non-parish sources can be found here and include those for Methodists, Wesleyans, Baptists, Independents, Protestant Dissenters, Congregationalist, Presbyterians, Unitarians, Quakers (Society of Friends), Dissenters and Russian Orthodox. Maternity Records. Overseas Records. Early Birth Registers plus various other BMD records. As it’s the official TNA (The National Archives) partnership site with The Genealogist it is a pay to view site, but if you already subscribe to The Genealogist then you’ll find the same information is on that website as well.

London, England, Non-conformist Registers, 1694-1931 | Ancestry® (
Amongst their large collection of nonconformist records is this one, which contains baptism, marriage, and burial registers from 1694-1931 for many Non-Conformist churches in the greater London area.

Find My Past
England & Wales Non-Conformist Births and Baptisms |
There are more than 1.5 million non-conformist records available and more than 50 denominations are covered in the records; some of which existed only briefly and are no longer practiced today.

Knottingley Wesleyan Methodist Chapel

My Methodist History
My Methodist History | Telling the story of the people called Methodist
This site encourages people to share photographs, stories, memories and research about anything to do with the Methodist Church since the various strands joined together in 1932. There are links from this page to other related sites My Primitive Methodists My Primitive Methodists | Sharing stories, photos, memories and research , My Wesleyan Methodists My Wesleyan Methodists | Sharing stories, photos, memories and research   and My United Methodists My United Methodists | Sharing Methodist family history, memorabilia and research .

Quaker Archives, Leeds University Library
Quaker Collections | Special Collections | Library | University of Leeds
The University Library is the main repository for Yorkshire Quaker Archives. The two main collections of Quaker records are the Carlton Hill Collection and the Clifford Street Collection. Carlton Hill broadly covers the Leeds, Bradford, Settle and Knaresborough areas; Clifford Street the York and Thirsk areas, as well as records for Yorkshire as a whole.

Quaker Family History Society
Index (
The Quaker Family History Society was formed in 1993 and is a member of the Federation of Family History Societies. Their aim is to encourage and assist anyone interested in tracing the history of Quaker families in the British Isles. They are based in Britain, so do not claim any expertise on the history of Quakers outside Britain. Included in the site is a very useful county table which helps you to locate meeting records.

Quakers in Britain
Search the catalogue | Quakers in Britain
included in the online catalogue are over 1000 manuscript collections and personal papers of Quakers and Quaker families, such as the diaries of Elizabeth Fry

Baptist History and Heritage Society
Baptist History & Heritage Society – Just another WordPress site (
An organization of Baptist historians and other individuals and partner institutions committed to communicating the story of Baptists through the study, interpretation, publication, and advocacy of Baptist history.

Central Baptist Church, Ossett

Baptist Historical Society
Baptist Historical Society – helping British Baptists understand their heritage and history. (
This site aims to help British Baptists understand their heritage and history and provides an opportunity for those who wish to study the life of Baptist churches, and people.

Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland
Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland (
Founded in 1907 the object of the Society is to explore and promote an understanding of the history of Presbyterianism in Ireland. This is achieved by various means, including the collection and preservation of historic materials and records of these churches.

Family History Friday: Textile workers

Worker at Jagger’s Mill, Ossett

The textile industry was one of the main industries which drove the Industrial Revolution and high quality textiles made in the main districts, the Midlands, the north-west of England and the Clyde Valley in Scotland, were sent across the world. You’ll find plenty of records about firms but you may also be able to find factory wage books or union membership records which will include your ancestors’ names. We’ve also included places to visit which are currently still closed but hopefully will soon reopen fully to the public.

Spinning the Web
Spinning the web – the story of the cotton industry | (beta)
 A very useful, if somewhat dated site, which brings together some 20,000 items from the libraries, museums and archives of North West England which tell the story of the Lancashire Cotton Industry. Users can search the collection or explore a series of themes: an account of the period 1760 to the present day; the impact of cotton on villages, towns and cities; living and working in the mills; how cotton was made and sold; and the uses of cotton in clothing and other products.

Cotton Town
Cotton Town
If you happen to have ancestors who worked in the cotton industry in Blackburn with Darwen, then we highly recommend this site, which provides a wealth of information for example the “Handloom Era” focuses on the living and working conditions experienced by the weavers and spinners of Blackburn and Darwen. It explains about the machinery they used, the good and the bad times, and the decline of the “Handloom Era”. It also gives a comprehensive list of hand loom weavers’ cottages in Blackburn and Darwen, some of which are still occupied in the 21st century.
If your ancestors lived in this area but weren’t connected to the cotton industry, we’d still recommend that you visit this site as it also gives much information about other industries in the town and general life in the area with sections on Health & Welfare, Housing and Shops & Markets.

Workers leaving Colbeck Mill, Flanshaw Lane, Flanshaw

University of Manchester Library
Special Collections (The University of Manchester Library)
Major sources for the textile industry include the archives of Samuel Oldknow, McConnel & Kennedy, Sun Mill, Rylands & Sons, W.M. Christy & Sons, and the Fielden Brothers of Todmorden, and also the Greater Manchester Mill Survey Archive, which contains information on all textile mills still extant in the county during the 1980s.

Cotton Factory Times
Cotton Factory Times in British Newspaper Archive
This is an extremely recent addition to the British Newspaper Archive and well worth exploring. The blog gives further information (Cotton Factory Times | The British Newspaper Archive Blog). It was first published on the 16 January 1885 and was the brainchild of newspaper owner John Andrew, who ran the Ashton Evening Reporter. It was his aim to sell more newspapers to workers at the local cotton factories in Lancashire and Cheshire, and to do that he believed he needed to create a newspaper aimed solely at this demographic. So what could you find within the pages of this organ of the cotton factory workers? Well, there were sections including ‘Notes from the Factories,’ ‘Thoughts on Home Life,’ and ‘Voices from the Spindle and the Loom.’ All these sections combine to paint a vivid picture of what daily life was like at the cotton factories, from reports of accidents to reports of dismissals (one poor woman was dismissed for being fifteen minutes late!).

Quarry Bank Mill
Quarry Bank | National Trust
Over the past four years Quarry Bank has been at the centre of one of the largest projects in the National Trust’s history. New areas have been restored and for the first time ever visitors can now explore the complete industrial heritage site at Quarry Bank, once one of the largest cotton manufacturing businesses in Britain, on the edge of the first industrial city in the world.

Queen Street Textile Mill Museum, Burnley
Queen Street Mill Textile Museum – Lancashire County Council
Queen Street Mill is a former weaving mill in Harle Syke, a suburb to the north-east of Burnley, Lancashire, that is a Grade I listed building. It was built in 1894 for the Queen Street Manufacturing Company and is now a museum.

Scottish Textile Heritage
History of textiles: Scottish textile heritage – Archives Hub (
The project which led to the creation of this site sought to map Scottish textile collections found in archives and museums. It includes the archives of many companies, organisations and individuals connected to the industry. Companies include Paisley thread manufacturers J & P Coats Ltd, Dundee jute firms such as Sidlaw Industries and Scottish Borders tweed firms Blenkhorn Richardson and Bernat Klein. There are also examples of trade and employers associations such as the Govan Weavers and the national Association of Scottish Woollen Manufacturers.
The project has also developed an image gallery of over 400 textile objects and a series of online resources including short essays, bibliographies, gazetteer maps and a glossary of Scottish textile terms.

New Lanark World Heritage Site
Home – New Lanark Visitor Centre
New Lanark World Heritage Site is a unique 18th century Mill Village sitting alongside the picturesque River Clyde, less than one hour from Glasgow and Edinburgh. Founded in 1785 with a focus on philanthropy, education and the welfare of the mill workers, New Lanark became a model for industrial communities that was to spread across the world in the 19th and 20th centuries.

RGS Pattern Book Co, Ossett

Saltaire World Heritage Site
Saltaire, World Heritage Site (
Titus Salt was a man with a vision of an industrial utopia, and when he built Salts Mill and the surrounding village of Saltaire, he was bringing that vision to life. The mill was built to emulate a palazzo of the Italian Renaissance. Salt believed this was a time when social and cultural advancement were a direct consequence of the commercial ability of textile barons. When Salts Mill opened in 1853, it was the biggest factory in the world. 3000 workers toiled away at 1200 looms, producing 30,000 yards of cloth every single day. In a twenty five year building spree, Salt also built housing, a church, schools and almshouses for his work force.
Saltaire is a village where people live. You don’t have to book to come here and Salts Mill is free to enter. There are shops, places to eat, wonderful architecture and a lovely park.

Trade Union Ancestors
Welcome to Trade Union Ancestors – Trade Union Ancestors
We’ve mentioned this site before as it can help you locate a specific trade union in time and place with the A to Z index of trade unions and trade union family trees. In addition, you can read about some of the events and people that shaped the trade union movement through 200 years of history in our trade union histories, trade union lives and striking stories.

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